Today you should read: Leviticus 13
Leviticus 13 is like Dermatology 101, and I am not a fan. I don’t have a super weak constitution, but this passage puts it to the test. Despite the vivid descriptions, we can learn a lot about God through this passage. I’ll just focus on two things and wrap up with a final thought:
- God protects His Holiness—Holiness refers to something that is “set-apart.” The Tabernacle of the Lord was in the center of the Israelite encampment. The Tabernacle and everything in it was holy; that is, it was set apart for a special use. While “uncleanness” was not the same thing as “sin” in the Law, God’s holy standard represented in the ceremonial Laws demanded cleanliness. Therefore, anything unclean was moved outside the encampment, away from the center (v. 46). It was, most often, a temporary departure from the ceremonial practices until such a time that cleanliness was restored. This was all done to preserve the holiness of that which had been dedicated to God.
- God protects His people—God’s Law demanded that the unclean live alone outside the camp. There are several possible reasons for this, including preventing the spread of disease. However, God did not leave these people without help. As you read chapter 13, you see that the priests were checking these people on a routine basis. They were quarantined, but not forgotten.
Many of us know the feeling of being on the outside. If you were unclean, you were literally forced to the outside. Uncleanness wasn’t intended to communicate that they were condemned, shamed, or unloved. Yet, that is often what happened when cultures encountered disease. God provided mediators through His priests. They were there to check, make recommendations for healing, and help that person until cleanliness was restored.
Final thought—God’s Law did many things, two such things were protection horizontally and vertically. Vertical protection meant preserving the relationship between God and His people. This was done by grace through faith in God’s provision. God specifically taught His people about those things that might damage their relationship with Him.
Horizontal protection was finding tangible expressions of love for those in the community. God protected his people from things like sickness in today’s chapter, but also Laws that would protect them from assimilating to pagan culture.
As we read Leviticus, we should count the cost of holiness. The price was high. To our shame we often approach the Throne of Grace flippantly, without regard to personal holiness. God’s rules are designed for our good, for our protection. Most importantly, however, God’s demands on our life are to maintain the relationship with the One who has the authority to make demands on our lives.
When Christ came, as He interacted with the lepers and the unclean, He flipped the script. Although the holy things of God in the tabernacle could be made unclean, the Holy One of God who tabernacled among men could not. Christ was not made unclean, he cleaned.
Christ taught us that our sin and uncleanness were worse than we possibly could have imagined. Sin required sacrifice and uncleanness required separation. No longer must we bear our shame in the center of the camp to atone for sin, and no longer are we forced out of the camp in our uncleanness. In Christ, shame and separation need not exist.
By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate
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